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‘Secrets of the Striptease Queens’
11:04 am



Reporter Jack Griffin went in search of the “Secrets of the Strip Tease Queens” sometime in the early 1950s. He visited Minsky’s Burlesque Theater on State and Van Buren, Chicago, to find the answer. There he met with stripper Bobbi Bruce who told him:

“Honey, I guess you can sum up this business in one sentence. You grab as much sex as the law is allowing at this time, and throw it across the footlights as hard as you can.”

Griffin described Bobbi’s answer as:

“ of the simplest and clearest descriptions of the strip tease business ever made.”

Too true! As to what the law would permit at this time law, well according to Carnival magazine’s “Guide for Strip-teasers” the law in Illinois “means Chicago, and Chicago means let ‘er rip.”  The limit on what a stripper could or could not take off was entirely “on the club owners’ discretion.”  Added for emphasis: “Chicago club owners’ are hardly noted for discretion.”

But back to Griffin who notes that “Strippers are”:

...a clannish group of well-developed girls, are loath to talk with outsiders about their art or their personal lives.

That may come as a surprise to some of the gentlemen who have dropped into neon emporiums where beer is dispensed at 75 cents a bottle and entertainers mix with the customers while other girls wiggle out of their clothing on the runway behind the bar.

But if they will hark back to that expensive evening, they will discover the girl’s conversation consisted chiefly of, “Daddy, you’re cute,” and “It’s time for another drink.”

The girls from the bump and grind circuit have found from long experience that most men who ply them with personal questions, usually accompanied with a leer, are mental Peeping Toms. Besides, they have heard all the questions before and consider them very dull.

But our intrepid “perspiring” reporter asked enough questions to appreciate a stripper takes her art seriously. Sometimes performing five or six shows a night, seven days a week, which meant these women were in no mood for “much of anything except going home—alone—and going to sleep.”

Strippers, Griffin points out, are like well-trained athletes. Booze and late nights “play havoc with a person’s body, and a stripper’s body is her business.”

Bobbi Bruce (aka Bobbi Blue) worked as “a hash slinger” before making enough from her tips to quit her work, rent a studio with full-length mirror and spend seven months perfecting the sexiest way to shake off her clothes.

Burlesque performer Michelle Marshall told Griffin another secret of the stripper’s art:

“They call it strip tease and that’s what you’ve got to do. If you don’t tease, then the strip don’t mean a thing.”

When this article first appeared most strippers were members of the American Guild Variety Artists. Some were also signed-up with the Burlesque Artists Association. The minimum union salary for stripping back then varied by state but was somewhere between $90-$100 a week. The more upmarket the club, the better the money.

Those new to the business could make around $150 a week. The top dollar for burlesque stars like Lili St. Cyr went as high as $3,500 a week.

Read more about the ‘Secrets of the Strip Tease Queens,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wigs, waxing and song: Meet the drag pioneers of the 1920s ‘Pansy Craze’
10:55 am



Francis Renault, famous female impersonator from ‘The Pansy Craze.’
Some of the most popular stage shows in New York and San Francisco in the 1920s and early 1930s routinely featured a wide variety of talented representatives from the gay community. In addition to live vaudeville house performances there were also a large number of extravagant soirees that featured drag costume competitions and attendees, regardless of their sexual orientation, would often arrive decked out in gender-bending fashions. It also wasn’t unusual for these kind of affairs to be covered by mainstream newspapers and wasn’t particularly considered to be an unacceptable practice. As a matter of fact, one of the era’s biggest stars, the great Mae West was an avid supporter of homosexual actors and in addition to penning the controversial play The Drag (which attempted to define the role of a homosexual man in society) she actively often provided roles to them in her productions. West’s shrewd timing of The Drag also played upon a popular movement that was a part of this wonderful time in New York and San Francisco known as “The Pansy Craze.”

Men who enjoyed bringing their inner drag queen to life during The Pansy Craze were called “Pansies” (as well as “fairies”). The Pansy Craze was HUGE and shows featuring female impersonators were attended by thousands of people who packed into bohemian clubs in Greenwich Village and drank like sailors despite the fact that prohibition was then in full effect. One of the city’s highest paid performers during the 1920s was Gene Malin who also went by the name “Jean Malin.” Malin also put out a couple of albums and had a bit of a hit with his tongue-in-cheek tune “I’d Rather be Spanish than Manish.” He was a champion of the gay community as well as one of its most celebrated members. Sadly, Malin was killed in a freak car accident after errantly putting his car into reverse sending it plunging into the water off a pier in Venice, California at the age of 25.

Another star of the Pansy Craze was “Rae Bourbon.” Born Hal Bardell, Bourbon was once a part of the boozy-sounding drag stand-up duo “Scotch and Bourbon.” Rae spent a lot of time in the slammer on charges of “lewdness” and “impersonating a woman” during his career and would often write to Vanity Fair magazine asking the publication to send him money in order to make bail. Toward the tail end of the Pansy Craze, Bourbon stepped away from the stage and did modeling work for Weill’s, a department store in Bakersfield, California. In the ad for Bourbon’s appearance he was billed as “Mr. Rae Bourbon” a “popular actor and female impersonator.” Apparently in the 1920s nobody thought it was that weird or that controversial to have a man modeling women’s clothing in the window of a department store on a Saturday. (And that’s because it really isn’t.) Bourbon also produced a number of racy albums before ending up in prison after being convicted of being an accomplice to murder after falling on hard times in the 1960s.

Though I could probably break this post into a series as there as quite a few notable historical “pansies” I’d like to jaw about, I’ll leave you with a few interesting tidbits on Francis Renault, a female impersonator who had a penchant for pricey clothing and jewellery. Born Antonio Auriemma (or perhaps Auriema) in Naples, Italy in 1893 his family moved to the future gay-friendly east coast destination of Providence, Rhode Island when he was young. Renault would perform in 43 different countries as “Francis Renault” and his drag image of Francis even appeared on the cover for the 1913 sheet music to Irving Berlin’s At the Devil’s Ball. As I mentioned, Renault was a huge connoisseur of designer duds and in a magazine ad for a show featuring a performance by him it was said that he would be wearing $5000 dollars worth of costumes straight from the couture houses of Paris. It’s probably important to note that this kind of figure was astronomical for the time and this kind of stocked closet would be worth somewhere in the range of $65K in modern times. Zowie. I’ve included numerous photos of the famous pansies I’ve featured in this post as well as some of their recordings for you to check out below.


Rae Bourbon (far right) and Mae West (center).

Rae Bourbon.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
That time Mickey Mouse was a drug dealer in Africa
09:52 am

Stupid or Evil?


I’ve never liked Mickey Mouse. Donald Duck? Okay. Goofy and Pluto? I can dig ‘em. But Mickey and Minnie Mouse? No—they’re just evil little fuckers—especially Mickey who’s a nasty, conniving son of a rodent.

Mice are bad. They carry disease. They eat your food. They piss and shit all over your house. And once installed—they’re damn near impossible to get rid of. At least a duck you can cook and eat. And dogs are loyal and keen—and I’m told taste like chicken. But mice are just goddam no-good evil vermin. Which is kinda troubling when you think that Mickey Mouse is one of the best-known and most loved symbols of the United States of America.

But then again that probably explains a lot….

For the benefit of the court, may I present exhibit “A” in the case of the People Vs. Mickey Mouse. This is a comic book from the 1950s when the US of A was king of the world and everything was peachy. This comic depicts Mickey and Goofy getting their hands on some liquid amphetamine called “Peppo.” Not only do they partake of this drug themselves (fair do’s)—they then try and sell it to Africans. And this is where the script edges towards the racist and offensive—not that anyone thought so at the time which probably tells you even more than you need to know about American attitudes to the rest world.

The comic book was produced in collaboration between Walt Disney and General Mills to promote Wheaties breakfast cereal.

Click to enlarge images.
Read the rest of Mickey and Goofy’s racist adventure, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The erotic art of the enema
12:32 pm



Mel Brooks was once on Michael Parkinson’s chat show sometime in the early 1980s where he described the opening scenes to his proposed next movie. Brooks explained he wanted his film to begin like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—but instead of apes he wanted to show a neanderthal standing upright for the first time. His spiel went something like this—I’m gonna paraphrase so deal with it:

It’s early morning—just before dawn. The sun is slowly igniting the horizon. A band of gold appears as the theme from Thus Sprach Zarathustra begins to play under the picture. As the sun rises a group of neanderthals huddle together fearfully watching this magical giant disc rising up like a god. As the music swells a beam of pure golden light radiates across the landscape.

The neanderthals are scared and cower away form this approaching light—all except one who climbs on all fours towards the top of the mountain. As this inquisitive figure moves forward the sun rises. The sky is now fire bright.

The golden orb continues to rise—the neanderthal reaches out to grasp it. He begins to rise up on two legs. First one then the other arm reach out towards the sky. As the music reaches its dramatic climax—the neanderthal is standing teetering on tiptoe arms raised. The neanderthal looks up at the sun. Then slowly at his arms—at his hands—then down at his feet. He has risen up like the sun and now stands upright for the very first time. This creature has liberated his arms to create, to produce and to help him shape a new world. His fellow neanderthals scurry away in fear. As a new day begins the first homo erectus looks at his hands—mesmerized by his fingers, by their potential to grip and move, to adapt and change. He lowers his arms and looks down at them contemplating his new power and the potential now opened to him. The music finishes as this first proto-human looks down considering the significance of his actions. It’s a powerful moment in human evolution. He looks again at his hands—he’s free to use them to help others—to change the world.

And that’s when he starts masturbating.

Human evolution—the progression towards self-gratification.

Which brings us—in roundabout fashion—to these historic and seemingly erotic images depicting the use of the enema in medicine and sex. What begins as a series of etchings often satirically showing women and men seeking much-needed relief for their “night soil” evolves into more recent imagery where the enema is used primarily for sexual gratification. It is apparent that humanity has an unbridled ingenuity for finding gratification from almost anything—vegetables, furniture, house hold appliances and even medicinal treatments.

The drawings and paintings from the twentieth century were produced by various artists who made small change producing illustrations for various editions of erotica. Some names are aliases—most notably Julie Delcourt who may or may not be the pseudonym for Richard Hegemann—a German artist who also worked under the names A. Hegemann, A. Hegener and P. Rollmann. Hegemann excelled in depicting matronly women thrashing supplicant men and badly behaved boys and girls in sailor suits who seemingly relished the whack of their teacher’s belt. Many of Julie Delcourt’s other paintings (not included here) are decidedly NSFW and rather questionable.

An individual who derives pleasure from receiving enemas is called a klismaphiliac.  The term klismaphilia was only coined fairly recently by Dr. Joanne Denko in 1973—which tends to make it seem as if klismaphiliac is only a modern practice. But as can be seen by these illustrations from the the 18th century and more recently the 1920s and 1930s—klismaphilia has a much longer history.
‘A fashionable lady being given an enema by a charming young man’—Dicuelt 18th century.
‘A peeping-tom spying on a fashionable lady receiving an enema’—Pierre-Antoine Baudouin.
More friends or enemas? after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Androgynous aerial acrobat & 1920s female impersonator, the great ‘Barbette’
10:28 am



Vander Clyde as the captivating ‘Barbette,’ early 1920s.
Vander Clyde (aka “Barbette”) was born in Texas around 1898. Though there is some dispute about Clyde’s actual date of birth, there is no debate about how the influential Vaudeville acrobat and female impersonator was to artists such as Jean Cocteau (who wrote an essay in 1926 based on Clyde’s alter-ego as a female impersonator called Le Numéro Barbette). It’s even said that Clyde’s incredible transformative abilities helped inspire Blake Edwards’ gender-bending 1982 film, Victor/Victoria.

As a young child, perhaps as young as eight, Clyde attended a local circus with his mother in Austin and was so moved by the show (especially the aerial acts), that he later confessed to his horrified mother that he intended to run away and join the circus and become a “wire-walker.” Clyde didn’t make good on his threat and instead stayed home and got a job picking cotton for several years so he could earn enough cash continue attending circus shows. After graduating at the top of his class at the age of fourteen Clyde would develop his self-taught aerial skills by using anything he could including the clothing line in his backyard. Shortly after he graduated and according to the 2012 book The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville he responded to an ad in Billboard Magazine placed by the “World Famous Aerial Queens” a group from Italy known as the “Alfaretta Sisters.” Tragically one of the sisters had recently died and the act was desperately looking for a replacement. However the job came with a catch.

The surviving members of the Alfaretta Sisters insisted that one of reasons their act was so popular was because people preferred to watch women swinging around on a trapeze rather than a man. So in order to get the gig Clyde would have to dress up like a girl. Which he happily did. It wouldn’t take long before Clyde would launch his solo career dressed in drag as “Barbette.” When his show premiered in New York at the Harlem Opera House in 1919, The New York Dramatic Mirror (now there’s a publication I’d love to see come back, wouldn’t you?) called Barbette “not a bad looking girl at all” and praised his “thrilling stunts.” The magazine also noted that at the end of Barbette’s act that Clyde dramatically removed his wig stunning the audience to silence.

In 1923 Clyde took to the stage of the Folies Bergère, a cabaret music hall located in Paris dressed in full drag as Barbette. During the show Clyde performed incredible acrobatic stunts such as walking a high wire and dangerous trapeze-related tricks. Clyde’s appearance was so convincing that it left people to ponder the ambiguous performer’s true sexual identity. Members of the French avant-garde community were captivated by Clyde’s portrayal of Barbette including one of France’s most influential creative minds the great Jean Cocteau, who was allegedly linked to Clyde romantically. Cocteau was so taken with Barbette that he commissioned surrealist photographer Man Ray to take a series of photographs showing Clyde’s metamorphosis into the ethereal, androgynous Barbette.

In 1938 Clyde contracted pneumonia which led to his early retirement from the stage though he would continue to work with up-and-coming circus acts as well as on films by Orson Welles and the legendary multi-talented producer and director, Billy Rose. I’ve included some remarkable photos of Clyde as Barbette and some images from his shoot with Man Ray. If you’d like to learn more about Clyde he is the subject of a fantastic looking book called Wildflower: The Dramatic Life of Barbette—Round Rock’s First and Greatest Drag Queen. Though there is no nudity, some may be considered NSFW.

Vander Clyde as ‘Barbette.’ Photography by Man Ray.

‘Barbette’ on the trapeze.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Patty Hearst sexploitation films were a ‘thing’ in the 1970s
10:41 am



‘Patty’ poster available at
Although the notion of rushing a “cash in” product to market to capitalize on a story or scandal in the headlines isn’t exactly a new thing, even in the more freewheeling 1970s a porno “cash in” was still, historically speaking, a fairly novel phenomenon. Case in point, when publishing heiress Patty Hearst was abducted by the left-wing terrorists known as the Symbionese Liberation Army.

If you weren’t around then or need a refresher course, on February 4th, 1974, Patty Hearst, then a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley was abducted from her apartment by the SLA, a radical leftist urban guerrilla group led by escaped convict “Field Marshal” Donald DeFreeze. She was raped, beaten, constantly threatened with death and basically brainwashed/coerced into participating in various highly illegal activities, including an infamous April 15, 1974 San Francisco bank robbery, helping to make improvised explosives and driving a getaway car.

Hearst was arrested in a San Francisco apartment with another SLA member on September 18, 1975. At her police station booking she listed her occupation as “Urban Guerilla” and asked her lawyer to “Tell everybody that I’m smiling, that I feel free and strong and I send my greetings and love to all the sisters and brothers out there.” Hearst was just 87 pounds when she was apprehended, and despite being described by the prominent psychologist Dr. Margaret Singer, who examined her, as “a low-IQ, low-affect zombie” and clearly having suffered psychological and physical trauma, she was convicted by a jury of several crimes and sentenced to decades in federal prison. Jimmy Carter commuted her prison sentence after 22 months served and Bill Clinton gave her a full pardon in 2001. Hearst appeared in two John Waters films and has been active in charity fundraising, concentrating her efforts towards pediatric AIDS.

The Hearst story was quite a big deal in the mid-70s, daily frontpage news, on the cover of TIME, Newsweek, the Saturday Evening Post and People and the subject of frequent TV news stories. You could buy “special edition” magazines devoted to Hearst’s travails next to the TV Guide and Reader’s Digest at the grocery store checkout line. And there were two, arguably three, exploitation films made about her at the time.

The most curious of the three was a film simply called Patty (no last name is ever mentioned) a mockumentary that came in hardcore XXX-rated, softcore X-rated and R-rated versions. The only “star” worth mentioning was 70s porn stalwart Jamie Gillis and the film was directed by Robert L. Roberts the same low budget sleaze auteur who gave the world Sweet Savior, the 1971 “love-thrill murders” Manson Family-themed exploitation film starring former teen heartthrob Troy Donahue as a shaggy hippie cult leader.

Essentially Patty seems like it was a bunch of sex scenes with various pairings (group sex, lesbian, interracial and even a little girl-on-snake action according to a VARIETY review) held together with a framing device of “a Freudian psychologist and four of his colleagues” (along with the director himself) conversing about “Patty.” The film’s tagline was “The story of a revolutionary, told in highly erotic terms.” NY Times film reviewer Vincent Canby dubbed it “a frisky romp.”

According to the Temple of Schlock blog, the film had been considered “lost” but that:

The negative for all three was rescued from a condemned movie theater in New Jersey almost seven years ago and sold on eBay to a DVD company on January 14, 2008. A DVD/Blu-ray will hopefully come out sometime soon.

(Apparently a 2017 release has already been announced by Synapse, but with no further information available.)

And then there is Tanya AKA Sex Queen of the SLA a comedy directed by one “P. Duncan Fingersnarl” (Nate Rogers) in 1976. Here’s what one reviewer on IMDB said about it:

This film is a fun spoof, based on the real-life 70s Patty Hearst kidnapping. In the movie, a young affluent woman named Charlotte Cane, is kidnapped and held for ransom. Her kidnappers are a group of radical revolutionaries, who are holed-up in a grungy hideout, in the Oakland ghetto.

They’re a mixed-race bunch, who are committed to camaraderie, and saving the ‘people’ from the oppressive ‘insect pig’ capitalists. This band of freedom-fighters, are also dedicated to having lots of sex with each other. There’s plenty of juicy sex scenes, including both interracial and lesbian trysts, between the group members. The sex in this film, is very graphic indeed, including showing lots of male full- frontal nudity.

Charlotte gets caught-up in the lustful antics of her kidnappers, and has marathon sex sessions with them all. She enthusiastically enjoys her newly uninhibited sexuality, that the kidnappers have awakened in her. Charlotte also becomes sympathetic, to the radical extremist cause of the group. She even renounces her name, choosing to be called Tanya instead. So, Tanya has to decide if she really wants to return to her former affluent, sheltered existence, when she gets the chance to do so.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Condomania: Vintage contraceptive packaging, 1910-1950
10:15 am



A pack of British condoms—sometimes known as ‘johnnies.’
Condoms in one form or another have been around since 3,000 BC. The Egyptians used layers of material—most likely a loincloth—to cover the penis to prevent pregnancy. Most men used potluck. Contraception was usually left to the women to deal with—plus ca change. Most men used a hasty withdrawal or practiced anal. Up until the fifteenth century there is some speculation of the limited use of oiled silk and sheep’s intestine as a form of barrier protection. This mainly by those who could afford it.

Circa 1564, the first documented mention of condom use appears in a medical text about syphilis called De Morbo Gallico or The French Disease by Gabriele Falloppio. A linen sheath tied with a ribbon was used. Falloppio apparently carried out an experimental trial on some 1100 men to test this form of contraception.

By the 1700s condoms were still made of leather or animal intestine. These were kept and washed after use. The big turning point was the vulcanization process patented by Charles Goodyear in 1844, which led to the manufacture of the first rubber condom in 1855.

For many decades, rubber condoms were manufactured by wrapping strips of raw rubber around penis-shaped molds, then dipping the wrapped molds in a chemical solution to cure the rubber.

These original vulcanized condoms were reusable but uncomfortably thick and unfortunately stank of sulphur, a bit of a mood killer.

It wasn’t until Julius Fromm had the bright idea of using glass molds dipped into rubber solution did condom manufacturing become widespread. This was quickly followed by the production of Latex—“rubber suspended in water”—in 1920 and the modern condom went global.

Condoms were sold in tins or paper packets—many of which had purposefully “elegant” designs, a few of which can be seen below.
Early circa 1910 condom tin.
The Sheik—a highly popular brand—the brand name allegedly inspired by the Rudolph Valentino movie.
More fancy condom packaging design, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Murderers and Meths Drinkers: A strange, grim tour of ‘The London Nobody Knows’
09:46 am



The great actor James Mason stands in a Victorian urinal in London talking about goldfish. Here, Mason says referring to this Holborn convenience, is true democracy as “All men are equal in the eyes of a lavatory attendant.” It’s one of the many quirky moments in an excellent documentary called The London Nobody Knows.

Another instance is Mason turning up at the door of a resident on Hanbury Street to view the garden where Jack the Ripper brutally murdered Annie Chapman. The streets look little changed in the seventy-nine years since her killing—dark, derelict, and foreboding.

Mason was a major box office star when he fronted this delightful short. He had recently starred in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita and Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and was yet to make the few ill-considered choices that briefly dimmed his star at the start of the seventies. Between acting commitments in early 1967, Mason donned his brown brogues, wool cap and camel jacket to play—or rather perform—the role of inquisitive tour guide across the cobbled lanes, the dereliction, the people, the buskers, the down and outs, the nooks and crannies of a radically changing city.

The London Nobody Knows is a delightful yet oddly haunting film. The tone is set at the beginning when Mason visits the derelict Bedford Music Hall—the favorite venue of the legendary Marie Lloyd, the queen of music hall. As Lloyd is heard singing “The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery,” Mason recounts how the ghost of a little known performer Belle Elmore was said to haunt the theater. Belle, Mason explains, was better known as Cora Turner—wife and victim of one Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen—the notorious murderer. This mix of the comic and the darkly tragic filter through the whole film—as can be seen by the later sequences of down and outs and meths drinkers—those poor unfortunates who sought inebriation—and usually blindness and death—in the consumption of denatured alcohol. Even an almost picturesque scene by the River Thames is tinged by the tale of pirates chained hand and foot by the edge waters to drown. Locals came and ate picnics while watching these poor brigands die.

As a side note: the Bedford Music Hall was where Peter Sellers parents performed and Sellers was born and raised in a tenement apartment next to the theater. Sellers later claimed he was a reincarnation of another Bedford artiste—Dan Leno.
Now, when I said Mason performs as “tour guide”—he is in fact giving his interpretation of Geoffrey Scowcroft Fletcher—a journalist, writer, artist and long forgotten pioneer of what is now ponderously termed “psychogeography”—on whose work the film is based. Fletcher wandered London drawing its inhabitants, noting down events, sights and things of historical importance which he then wrote up in a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. Fletcher’s books—The London Nobody Knows (1962), Down Among the Meths Men (1966) and a pinch of London’s River (1965) are the source material for Mason’s journey. (The Situationists were, of course, also known for taking similarly drifting “revolutionary” strolls, which they termed “dérive.”)

The London Nobody Knows was directed by Norman Cohen and produced by Michael Klinger. Cohen went onto make his name as a director of hit British comedy films like Till Death Us Do Part (1969), Dad’s Army (1971), and Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall and the series of seventies sex comedies—-Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Holiday Camp and Confessions of a Driving Instructor. While Klinger who produced Roman Polanski’s early films Cul-de-Sac and Repulsion went on to produce Michael Caine in Get Carter and Pulp and the Lee Marvin/Roger Moore feature Shout at the Devil.

If there’s one thing you are going to watch today then make it this—as it’s a rewarding look back at a world long gone (London during a year change) the year of so-called psychedelia and the “summer of love.” As can be seen from this film—that world was media hype—the world of The London Nobody Knows was very, very real.
Watch ‘The London Nobody Knows’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
East Germany’s leading fashion magazine, Sibylle
01:33 pm



May-Jun. 1981
One of the contradictory artifacts of the Communist bloc was the arena of clothing design and fashion. Indeed, one might even say that in any self-respecting socialist paradise, the entire notion of physical beauty would always be suspect: After all, visual attractiveness by definition involves itself with appearances over inner substance. But that didn’t mean that Eastern Europe was just going to cede the territory to the capitalists entirely. The Communist bloc had to compete with the West on many fronts, and one of them was the objectification of women.

The best-known fashion magazine in East Germany a.k.a. the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was called Sibylle. It was in print from 1956 until 1995, and it was named after its founder Sibylle Gerstner. The magazine was a bimonthly, appearing six times a year, and its modest run of 200,000 would regularly sell out, implying a demand among East German women for increased coverage of fashion topics.

Sibylle Gerstner
The question naturally arises whether how a socialist version of Vogue (people at the time were aware of that exact comparison) differed from the Western original. Certainly the Sibylle covers emphasize a more natural look and eschew materialistic or otherwise illusionistic makeup and other trappings—but it could also be that we’re reading into it, a bit; it’s possible that the covers are more similar than different. The article on Sibylle in German Wikipedia features the intriguing sentence “Auf die frauenzeitschrifttypischen Ratgeberteile wurde bewusst verzichtet,” which means that the typical women’s advice columns and similar content was consciously rejected. In the socialist East German paradise, women are not to be condescended to in matters of the heart!

For some reason the lion’s share of the covers available on German eBay are from the 1960s and the early 1980s but very little in between. I’m quite taken by the latter period but I’ll also show a few from the earlier span as well.

Jan.-Feb. 1981

Mar.-Apr. 1981

Jul.-Aug. 1981
Much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
CBGB’s awning being auctioned by Sotheby’s is expected to fetch at least $25,000
09:23 am

Stupid or Evil?


Man, who knew rock ‘n’ roll was so posh? Earlier this week, we alerted you to the sale of Dennis Hopper’s extremely modest record collection for only about 1500 times its probable value. This is unrelated, but it feels like a part of the same stupidity: an awning from CBGB, the Bowery dive bar that in the ‘70s became the Ur venue for the musical insurgency that would come to be known as punk rock, is being auctioned by the elite house Sotheby’s, and is estimated to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000.

The club was never really home base for people who could afford that kind of cash outlay for an outsized souvenir—the bands that played there were decidedly low-rent. The bands that made the place a Mecca included the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, Blonde, Talking Heads, the Cramps, and the Dead Boys (who recorded their live album Night of the Living Dead Boys there), well before they became marquee names. After a long and legendary run, the club closed ten years ago, and was “resurrected” in name only as we shit you not a restaurant in the Newark Airport (one and a half stars on Yelp). That restaurant has a small-scale replica of the club’s iconic awning. One of the several actual awnings that adorned the club’s doorway over the years lives on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but while the Sotheby’s web site claims that the awning for sale is the original, Time Out New York says that’s incorrect:

Though the venerable auction house is listing the item as the “original awning for punk mecca CBGB,” that’s not actually the case. It’s a version rescued from the trash in 2004 by former club manager Drew Bushong. Bushong’s find was one several iterations of the iconic sign, beginning with the first one hand-painted by CBGB owner Hilly Kristal. That awning is believed to have been stolen one night in the 1980s by the band Jody Foster’s Army (JFA), after the group played a gig. It’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Yeah, that’s fucking hilarious. I didn’t realize I could love JFA more!

The auction is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th. I’m sincerely hoping some CBGB O.G. gets it, but it will probably get sold to a fuckin’ pharma bro.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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